Saturday, November 26, 2011

Ten Faces of Innovation

What does it need to bring innovation into the real world, fueling its business model on its own?

Of course it needs a unique idea. Or an innovative new concept to combine already known stuff, ideas, or concepts.

Is it already sufficient, or does it need more? 

There is the need of capital, networks, markets, and resources to get down to these. Will it be your peers, former student colleagues, mentors, financial advisors? Or will there be more to consider, in order to accelerate the initial spark of an idea towards overwhelming business success? What has made Facebook, XING, Google, ... so great?

Tom Kelley, IDEO, has brought together the ten faces of innovation.

What is your face, and how do you play your role in bringing innovation into being?

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Boundary Spanning Future of Communication

We experimented a lot while prototyping on creating the knowledge & future accelerator here in Dresden from 2009 on. EtherPad as the platform to write the first collaborative business ever done in Dresden for the business plan competition futureSAX (I think the site is only in German, yet GoogleTranslate may help). Also we used it to crowdtranslate the subtitles of Ray Kurzeil's TED talk on Singularity University back in 2008 (German subtitling was organized and led from Dresden, the heart of SiliconSaxony).

Yet the video Bernd Nürnberger, a like-minded Presencing & Social Innovation friend from Japan, shows what really is possible in the time of collaboratively co-creating the future, across disciplines, time, distance, and culture (including the cultures of engineering, researching, politics, citizens - which when deeply looked at as in Edgar Schein's paper are quite different, seldom freely interchanging the group-wise intellectual properties, knowledge, and wisdom). [cont.]

What experiences have we had in using technologies to include different cultures in the conversation?

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Culture an Innovation Accelerator?

Driving home with a friend from a presentation today on why business leaders shouldn't leave out Facebook, Google+, and social networks in general.

The question arises, "May I ask, what you perceive of what I am doing and especially my value proposition?"

His answer, "I frankly don't know what you are doing!"

... a clear answer. But why am I troubled?!

About six months ago the head of Dresden Marketing, the city of Dresden's own marketing company, Dr. Bettina Bunge called me the "Alpha-Blogger of Dresden" during a workshop about the value proposition of the local creative class for business, research, tourism, and general economic well-being. A nice description of my work for about two decades by now, which states my personal love, and passion for the city pretty much to the point. Yet where is the value proposition seen in that perception? Who does share that there is value in connecting people, building bridges across countries, cultures, and disciplines, and on the sideline promotes Dresden across the globe?

Maybe we have a more scattered "culture landscape" than we might imagine and asked ourselves. Edgar Schein, professor (emer.) at MIT Sloan School of Management has written a well known book bringing more light to the issue, called "Organizational Culture and Leadership".

We really don't know about reality until we ask the honest question, accessing our own ignorance. And from there we learn as our emotions (clearly mine) accelerate and rise high. As long as the cultures of the giver and taker have not arrived at a shared understanding of each other innovation is on a stony path, and the "horsepower of entrepreneurs" can't be put effectively onto the road.

... so is it true that "Culture is the Way to Innovation"? What's your personal experience?

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Social Theatre - Value for Learning

Today I once more have been reminded that life is a theatre.
Similar to actors, singers, or dancers everything one does in
interaction with people requests for feedback.

Giving something of value and expect something in return. 
If that isn't fitting your expectations, it really can downturn you.

YET - take it as the gift of learning, even though your feelings
are hurt for a minute (or longer). A dear friend has sent me
the following poem on that.

And all credit goes to my mentor Edgar Schewhose, whose life path has 
been similarly meandering through time as mine, as he told me
(and others) on Erving Goffman's concept of 'Social Theatre'.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Openness is the Future of Science = #OSS2011

BS (before script) - be curious and dig all given links that appear in the text!

The past two days an amazing event took place in Mountain View, California. Mountain View is not just the headquarters of Google, it also houses the Computer History Museum. An stunning place where the legacy of information technology is like a "cultural island" (even though I haven't been there yet, I have the feeling it probably has a similar energy like the MIT Museum in Cambridge, which I visited in 2007, 2008, and 2009).

This inherent energy made it possible to house the 2nd Open Science Summit created and initiated by Joseph Jackson, be the beacon sending the "lights of research innovation" out in the world. Glad for being connected via Livestream and Twitter (#oss2011; check Greplin to get all relevant tweets). Though the 9 hrs time difference has been a real challenge (as with all action that is going on in the Valley, the inspiration and encouragement for moving on similar paths here in Silicon Saxony and its vast research community has been almost overwhelming.

Thank you all and especially Andrea Kuszewski (whom I got to know -by now only via FB- during last year's H+ Summit Harvard which we screened at CoOrpheum after Ray Kurzweil had visited Dresden for the 4. Dresden Future Summit).

Even though I couldn't make it (crowdfunding for networking entrepreneurship and science is still in an early stage, as we learned all from Jai Ranganathan in his talk on Saturday) I am most positive that in the near future I will come over for a chat with Joseph to BioCurious.

Cheers to all from Dresden,

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Serendipity - the field, the emotions, the memories

On the flight back from Oman sitting next to Charles van der Haegen, I first learned about SERENDIPITY. A word that does not really exist in German language. Mostly "glücklicher Zufall" (lucky coincidence) is used and yet this diminishes the power of the concept the split second it reaches your audience.

Serendipity - unknown setting, known people, shaking emotions, upcoming memories

>>> MAGIC happens!

Let it allow to happen :)

Yesterday, once again for me, it happened here in Dresden during the reopening of the Army Museum redone by Daniel Libeskind. A short story Semperoper Ballett "On the Move" and ConfronTension Sparking to Think - and Act!

PS.: One question I do have to you - do you know of any good picture that frames Serendipity beautifully? Thank you so much.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Looking in the rear mirror to see reality

In June a dear friend, entrepreneur, mentor, and more than curious economist at the same time, Vivek Wadhwa, wrote an article at the Washington Post, "Industry Clusters: the modern-day snake oil". A global citizen and systems thinker he pointed out some things that are well worth to have a look at. Maybe, just maybe there are underlying patterns that could be useful to kickstart economically sustainable growth in communities and business world, despite the current uproars and turmoil. Today at 21st 'Tag der Einheit' - the day when Germany officially became one country once again - the weather is sunny, all is quiet, and yet everybody can feel that we are moving in changing (fast-paced (!)) times.

Here goes my comment:

"Thanks Vivek for sparking again some deep thinking about what may go wrong in our economy and education system. The pattern you describe is pretty much observable over here in Germany, especially in the Eastern part of the country where I live permanently for the last ten years now.

However, there is hope - and it is right there in front of all eyes.

It is called arts, in this special case I mean it is the performing arts in form of ballet. Here in Dresden, the is holding the Ballet as it occurred last autumn by surprise during the Open Day of the Semperoper, has its own magic of entrepreneurship. The dancers move into spaces on stage that are unknown shortly before (a clear clean stage before they enter) and while the process is ongoing and the team is collectively creating the play, the audience is shaken. Pretty much as the entrepreneur in the business world shakes up and disturbs the "normal" business folks with ideas that seem crazy.

Nevertheless, this does not really hold back the dancers who are driven by deep passion. And once one gets to know some of them, which I am lucky to do due to my emphatic reviews on their play and interaction from a non-musician point of view on (look for ballet or Semperoper), one gets surprised. Dancers are not just the "dancing machines" one would imagine, rather deep thinking and sensitive people who see the world from what could be.

In this sense, I am glad to have chatted for various hours with Cas Rose,, also on the value of ballet in an innovation hot spot like Silicon Valley. The San Francisco Ballet with roughly 90.000 fans on Facebook is certainly one of the key drivers of innovation in the area - probably greatly underrated to what it really brings to the innovation to get going and growing out of the Valley.

Similar, rather at a bit smaller scale, the Semperoper Ballett is -in my view- the ultimate driving force for the innovations to become visible and evolve here in "Silicon Saxony" around Dresden where business centers and startup incubators have been set up by state money, only not to foster overall sustainable economic development.

What has been missing in the equation by now is the active integration and dialogue moving in and out from the innovation into the Semperoper and the various other places where performing artists are making us aware of what the world of tomorrow can and should be (even though the plays stem from an older time - yet they are often timeless, when you let go your assumptions and let you flow within the course of action with a little glimpse out of the corner of the eye to what your business is currently doing.

Looking forward to discussing this matter and other relevant ideas on how to spur innovation, entrepreneurship, and open-minded appreciation of a future we yet don't know quite well. Daring to take the step to try new gives great pay-off!!!

7/16/2011 12:25:05 AM GMT+0200 "

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Innovators on the Edge - In the Woods is Good to Grow

As written earlier Saxony Economic Development Corporation (AKA Wirtschaftsförderung Sachsen GmbH or in short WFS) has played a major role in facilitating the economic success of Saxony over the last twenty years. Last week 20 journalists were about to learn more about its depth. The lean thinkers amongst us would have said, "Going to the GEMBA (where the real stuff happens)":

Waiting and letting the experiences from last week settle in my mind and the business context has been more than interesting. We saw global players like BMW Plant Leipzig (H), Freiberger Compound Materials GmbH (G), rather locally embedded ones like Wätas (F), and Gerber Spitzen GmbH (E) - and were surely surprised.

Just to have a feeling what we have covered of Saxony - only a small fraction of what really is going on in the field of innovation (in various fields) here link to the route. For a visual quick glance, the following gives some feeling

View Larger Map

The whole trip was -in retrospect- beautifully choreographed by PR Piloten and WFS even though while being in the midst of the trip it was difficult to see the broader picture. Starting off with Eickhoff Antriebstechnik GmbH (B) with its new production plant in Klipphausen, producer of gearing for wind energy installation, steel and heat grounded everybody. Tangible things to quite familiar to the engineers amongst us. Quite contrary -concerning the weight of the products- next station was Mittweida. There we learned, in the middle of the town of a formerly racing sports car producer, at which plant location now parts of the new Airbuses are produced in ultra-light composite materials. Composite Technology Saxony, shortened to COTESA GmbH (C) was the first twist in perception. The Brandeins magazines sitting on the visitor area tables put an explanatory light on what entrepreneurial power and vision lie in the laid-back countryside.

After this rather high-tech orientated first day almost finished the day, a stitching company in the former stitch center of the world (its brand name still quite famous, "Plauener Spitze"). Gerber Spitzen GmbH (E) was our last visit for the day. 20 minds were thinking, "What might expect us there?" - Tuning in over coffee and cake, a perfect "chess move" to arise the curiosity. We heard of High Stick & High Stick+ and that stitching as a means of reinforcing material stability (with at the same time lower weight) is what the future is about. Curiousness tension rose even more.  Moving on over to the production area was like coming back to the early times of Toyota when loom machines were their main business. Amazing to the machine in action, learning about loads of punch tapes in the archives - innovation is not always about technology in the first place, it is all about human creativity to be put to work. .... the future of stitching is certainly closer than we all could see that afternoon. Automotive usage just one area and as Stitch World (a special issue of Technology Review) shows.

With that experience and freed-minds, the crowd stayed at Plauen with a continuous conversation over what was seen that first day of the trip.

Next day's morning travels for about 90 min brought us to Olbernhau, a small town right in the forest. An old and authentic entrepreneurial villa invited the group, the wood framed conference room brought back some of the spirit that was famous for the time before World War II as the region was sparked by innovators (on the edge). Listening to the short presentation for some minutes in it became quite clear that Wätas (F) is just another lean-orientated "hidden champion" in Silicon Saxony. During the first minutes of the presentation it became quite clear that the lean mindset is not just brought in by Porsche Consulting (which offered support due to the fact that Wätas earned an innovation prize lately) but entrenched in an old Saxonian mindset: making more with what you have at hand (in other parts of the world, this runs under the label 'Lean Thinking').

After a rushed visit through the premises and production line, the next point of interest during the tour was Freiberger Compound Materials GmbH (G) in Freiberg - actually where Silicon Saxony was sort of kickstarted and originated some 50 years ago almost on the date. The two days should close with a visit to the newest BMW plant in Leipzig (H) also visiting their logistics partner Kühne & Nagel (H). There we not only saw what economic "side-"effects a major player in the automotive arena has initiated in terms of economic growth of the region and the uprise of new supporting industries close by. Quite a few suppliers of complex car parts are based around the production area in the close vicinity even based on the premises.

Wrapping up, these two days enabled all participants to learn about a wide range of innovative companies in Saxony, which Wirtschaftsförderung Sachsen GmbH has helped in one or the other way to make the setup a successful one. As we could see innovation comes from the most unexpected sidelines from fields where a competitiveness towards the global market would not be obvious at first sight.

In one sentence to grasp the experience: Saxons make their on-the-edge setting away from the big thriving business centers into an innovation hot spot with a centuries-long history dating well back to the 16th century. Passion, Pride, and Pursuing rules!

Friday, September 16, 2011

Start Small, Accelerate Quickly

One year back in time, fresh like plucked today. Thoughts to be thought about.

Tianjin 2010 - Shaping the Future + Closing Session by World Economic Forum

Saturday, September 10, 2011

A Hidden Champion - 20 Years WFS & 50 Years Silicon Saxony

Last Monday, on September the 5th 2011, the Economic Development Agency Saxony (Wirtschaftsförderung Sachsen GmbH AKA WFS) had invited to its press talk due to its 20 year anniversary. The event took place at a small, yet technologically up to the rank "hidden champion" in the wireless network applications in Dresden, dresden elektronik ingenieurtechnik GmbH.

Surprisingly the audience of about 20 journalists and relevant media connector learned once again and for their audience, what really is cooking on the sideline of Germany, in so-called Silicon Saxony.
Shortly after the reunification of Germany in 1991, the government of Saxony decided to create an agency that would, even though loosely connected to the Free State of Saxony, act on its own as an LLC to spur the transformation of the local economy. An asset has been that the area around Dresden had been the microelectronics heart of the former COMECON (the communist economic entity) and so research institutes, well-educated engineers, and facilities were still in existence and to be used to bring economics up once again. It became evident that the local firms, even though they had made business with the global economy already needed support to connect to possible investors and new markets for their products and the ones to be developed. The WFS has functioned since then as a facilitator and connector of the local economy and the global markets in order to bring fertile connections into being.

The major goal back in the early days was to "put Saxony back on the global map" - as Saxony had been the European "powerhouse" in machinery, automobiles, railways, and many other fields (till the Second World War). Behind the "iron curtain" not much came out of what was really cooking, even the developments since the start of the microelectronics age back in 1961 in a research lab in Dresden were unknown to most.

Since the beginning in 1991 the WFS has involved almost 3.000 Saxonian companies to step over the country borders in order to outreach to foreign markets bring not only the word about Saxony out but also attract foreign companies to invest and cooperate with partners in Saxony. Over 47.000 new workplaces could be created with the support of WFS. One of the two major achievements were the two chip factories, Global Foundries (formerly AMD) and INFINEON, which since the mid-90s have attracted not only suppliers locally to emerge but also fueled back into the research and academic institutions based in the area.

Current activities are the supporting of the entrepreneurial eco-system of Saxony, a deeper collaboration with research institutes and universities (here one has to name DRESDENconcept), a future outreach into Indian markets.

Some thoughts on visions to be pulled by the future we could see on that Monday in the room:

  • In what way WFS will outcompete other internationally active economic development agencies the minute the new social tools are taken into account as boundary objects to connect across the globe with almost no cost? 
  • How would the entrepreneurial spirit of Saxony which once was driven by constraints, which led then to innovations we still use today, e.g. tubed toothpaste, the SLR camera, the PAL TV system, and more? 
  • Being a high-tech hot spot of its day now in all the relevant fields of technology, from robotics, nanotech, biotech, mobile computing, energy efficiency, solar energy,   ... what effect would have one or more (networked and closely working together) institutions like Singularity University to the economy of the region? 
  • What impact on future economic growth would a combined screening of Tiffany Shlain's documentary "Connected" and the documentary by Barry Ptolemy about futurist Ray Kurzweil "TranscendentMan" in Dresden fuel?

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Connecting the Dots AND Knowledge in the Air

For four days Dresden is host of a unique conference. The sub-conferences bound neatly together create Wissensgemeinschaften 2010 (Knowledge Communities 2011) - #delfi11 #geneme11 #gmw11 or #wige11 (which combines all).

Yesterday a pre-conference day with doctoral presentations and workshop put the setting and learning into gear. Issues like gesture use through smartphones in education and AR (augmented reality) as well as Ambient Displays were some of the most interesting topics. Some thoughts by workshop leader Mostafa Akbari on the relevant blog (translation via GoogleTranslate -a feature which is BTW just recently been added on Facebook). Quickly the dialogue of the session partners spurred into business world use and possible applications. However also the negative implication of overusing technology instead of becoming aware of what the human body and mind is really capable to use for learning as some participants outlined.

We are definitely on the turn of education, where standard education is what we see in most schools and universities, using the standards that were relevant some 20, 30 years ago with no World Wide Web in ubiquitous use - whether laptops, tablets, smartphones or even internet of things.

The first movers of these technologies are most often seen in the context of universities, where doctoral students are exploring new use of current technologies emerging quietly on the edge.

Being part of the "living cluster" of emerging technologies applied into education, a truly not easy to change environment these days, facing lots of strong head winds in public, is like seeing the future right in front.

.... to be continued .... more from #geneme11 from tomorrow and on.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Stories Connect People & Action

A two-day meeting down in Abbotsford Convent in Melbourne made the difference. Thanks to Annalie Kilian, David Hood, and especially Marigo Raftopoulos (for hosting me two day in her beautiful home in Melbourne).

Gathering11 was the name of the "show" - and it definitely was more as the stories podcasted and gathered (what an coincidence ;-)) by Daryl Cook will let you know.

What has been your story about Gathering11 (Twitter)? Interested in a screencast experiment? Leave a message on the comments.

To get inspired listen to the already uploaded podcasts.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Going home at 2pm and getting job done


Perhaps if we continue to do business as is normal at the present.
Prof. Rebecca Henderson about what can be done to make the
utopia a reality we'd like to enjoy.

It is done by moving ahead  with small steps of change (done by
the individual - without the big asking and getting support process).

Who is joining to make it happen - one step by the time?

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Internet of Things - or Everythinks?

#iot = Internet of Things (or may it be Internet of Thinking?)

"Gutenberg invented the printing press (with variable letters) -
considered the most important event of the modern era
1455 he published the bible.
Soon later he was bankrupt.
1517 Martin Luther put the 95 theses on the church gate.
Knowledge about the bible spread across Europe."

>> Fate of an innovator?

@MikeNelson on stage, different approaches to new technologies
Over the past two days it was the web-age and the internet that disrupts current business and create new business models. The 3rd Internet of Things Conference Europe with distinguished guests and speakers from politics arena around the European Commission, main players in the field, innovators (like Uman Haquer, Christian Nold), bloggers and tweeteres from around Europe (like Pierre Metivier, and myself), and some well-known folks from the U.S. (like Mike Nelson [whom I met at Amplify Festival 2011 a mere three weeks ago in Sydney], John Curran)

What is the output that is valuable for society, businesses, and country economies? Reading John Hagel's & John Seely Brown's  "Power of Pull" it can only be:

Define the outputs - and then orchestrate the complex network of players from customers, to service-providers to political entities and standardization institutions to co-create through shared standards and governing interactions that are transparent between the actors. (based on text on page 84 of "Power of Pull")

Can all the players in the game be put on just "one table" in order to achieve that? What enabling power can the "Internet of Thinking" play in this?

Monday, June 27, 2011

The Internet Wave - has it arrived yet?

On my way to the 3rd Internet of Things Conference Europe. This time about 9 hours on the train and one would expect that was is not common in air, should be normal on ground: internet connection all along Europe.

Reading John Hagel's and John Seely Brown's book "The Power of Pull" I do a little bit of field research on use of web on the train. Just while reading watching the people around me, which -due to lack of power sockets on this IC 2250 from Leipzig to Frankfurt-Airport- gather around the tabes in the waggon. Besides me three other folks who have their fingers on either a laptop, iPhone, or Treo (that's me ;-)).

To my surprise only the mobile connection via my Treo makes sense at all, GPRS connection is just sufficient to grab the latest tweets and mails  - thoough most of the time (at least to Frankfurt there is no net available. "Strange! Aren't we talking about LTE, G4, already? Where is the infrastructure got stuck?"

Reading my tweets, a response by O2-business team to Dirk Spannaus (with whom I ran the session on senso networks at Mobile Camp mid-May) caught my interest. Asked these guys on the connectivity to their web service. Their answer, "We have no clue whatsever" (roughly in this sense, the original see tweet). - Amazing! I offer my support and help as tester. Let's see what happens (Undisclosure: around a dozen tickets on not working internet connection put to service hotline in the past 12 months - no change whatsoever yet)

Even more thrilling is the fact that especially two of these guys, while working with on the edge technical devices - to my surprise- got out worn-out paper calendars of a size of a medium cooking-pot! Connected in the "show-off" part of the digital personality divide (as I would call it), but yet still sticking to the paper as in the past decades before the the WorldWideWeb and mobile interconnectivity have changed the way of work and pleasure.

I wonder whether I travel right now through the lands of the past or the state of the art tech-nation in Europe towards the hot spot where political decisions are put into place to change the behavior of the "big players" to move into the web-age soon (at an accelerated pace - otherwise Europe will be pretty much outwashed by countries like China, India, or even Austtralia.

Looking very much forward meeting Mike Nelson up in Bruxelles, whom I met two weeks ago in Sydney at Amplify Festival 2011, and learning about the movements of the European Commission. 

More on coverage of the mentioned conference under #iotconf and

PS.: Without broadband infrastructure especially in mobile environmemt there is tough times for "Internet of Things" and as long as we see business people with their heavy paper timers (also carrying their Blackberries and iPhones ;-)) we are still pretty much behind the mainstream in other parts of the globe. Europe wake up, YES WE (also) can DO!

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Reflection on #gathering11

It's me - really 
Last weekend around this time we were well into the 1st DAY at #gathering11 - an exceptional experience. Similar power I have seen in Muscat, Oman, during the 3rd SoL Global Forum in spring 2008 and visiting the "management school without teachers" (Team Academy) where students co-create value for real customers and learn through this experience.

Being part of the collective learning experience one often encounter times when you really feel "yes, that's working nicely" to moments you think "nothing really comes out of that".

The beauty of an event over several days is that you can adjust your personal thinking and connecting your past experience with what is going on in the room gradually (if you allow to let it go loose). Once you sort of give up, feeling that the process is overpowering you (which I actually felt on the arrival in the morning of the 2nd DAY), the way is open to transcend into a larger collective body, get yourself connected.

This happened to me during the second part of the Sunday at Abbotsford Convent in Melbourne, when the asset workshop at the very end really grasped my interest and joy. This was the state which connected very well with my first encounter with a Twitterwall at the 1st Mobile Camp in Dresden in 2009 which emerged in the WikiWall.

My condensed take away from these two amazing days (which I unfortunately could not follow up in the Hub Melbourne) are captured in the following PresencingStatus:

Gathering11 Badge
  1. What was good? Powerful morning start with "Thrivable World" video by Jean Russell, the power of passionate and dedicated people in the room, the beauty of the venue (which reminded me of CoOrpheum), connecting with people whom I only knew across Facebook, a wide range of passionate change makers (in discipline, age, profession, role, etc.)
  2. What was tricky? Holding the energy power feeling the sort of "overheating" 
  3. What have I learned? Connections are most easily made with name badges (in the size we had been given - where the heck did I put it? Found just now :) ), technology (e.g. my question on the gathering11 Flickr) is not yet playing a larger part in the collaborative action across boundaries (whether in distance, time zone, or field of expertise/ experience)
  4. Action to be taken? more than happy to engage in making a "thrivable world" become happening in the days ahead (even though away in distance and time (8 hours delayed to Melbourne)) - technology provides the tools to do so. "How Small Moves, Smartly Made, can Set Big Things in Motion" - subtitle of "The Power of Pull" and my personal philosophy in life (sometimes I call it Lean Thinking ;))

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Lake of Knowledge - Ready to be Harvested

Yesterday I got reminded that having too much drive in bringing things forward can be a constraint. Being passionate about sharing and connecting people and ideas I often stumble across "unseen" barriers. People get overwhelmed and step aside from my network.

Reminds me of my own behavior of processing information. Rather I like to jump into the "Lake of Wisdom" where I can capture information, people, and data in way I think is relevant. Isn't it therefore not possible to create this opportunity where who wishes can create his/ her own "lake of wisdom"?

How cool would that be? Filling up the level of wisdom you can then decide on (speed, volume, etc.).

A dream? Yes, maybe. It is already pretty close - it perhaps just needs a nudge to happen.

PS.: The picture on left is taken during the flood crisis in Dresden 2002 where information first sat in people's heads, then on the wall (picture) and then smoothly transcended into mobile devices (like Palm Zires, which Palm Europe Inc. sponsored the City of Dresden)

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Innovation sneaks in from the Edge

Over the course of the past six days the term "Edge" was mentioned by various speakers at #amplifyfest and #gathering11 (such as Gunter Pauli and John Hagel).

Now sitting on the table grabbing an older MIT Sloan Management Review (summer 2009 (!)) the notion of making the change happen from the outside (rather than from inside) hit me again. "Innovation From The Inside Out".

Making the change happen (and last) one has to learn the things a great big wave surfer has to have:


Thursday, June 2, 2011

EduJourney2011 - surprises always come around the corner...


As with all big changes, intended to make a difference, you have to change the structure. Often it is not easy to find the "right" leverage point.

One of those (a day in autumn 2010) was the beginning of love for ballet and seeing beyond the pure show, but rather the deeper intentions and interactions of the dancers - an awesome expression of the Power of WE.

••• Help us to use the Power of WE to share and inspire •••

PS.: Ulrike will be coming for gathering11 and I am coming to #amplifyfest (as well). We both are sharing very similar world views on how the world can become a better place: Using the power of WE.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Higher Education being the Cross-Fertilizer of Innovation

We are definitely moving into the future and education becomes a blend of innovation, fun and learning.
LockSchuppen here in Dresden emerged on the ideas of Ray Kurzweil, Singularity University, and collaborative learning using the tools we have been given. The initial spark had been a five-year work and learning experience at BMW Leipzig, led by its visionary founder and creator Peter Claussen.

It was working and getting quite a bit of learning about group dynamics, collaborative innovation, and emerging technologies - I was fun.

Now it is time to transform this learning of the past into the education and work forms of the 21st century. The most recent edu-event was the 3rd Mobile Camp here in Dresden (the microchip capital of Europe - with all the adjacent technology and research right at hand, DRESDENconcept is the ongoing project of the TU Dresden and various research institutes to blend that into something greater than yet seen). Running two sessions on Ray Kurzweil's work with 50 participants was quite an experience - the word is spreading!

Are you coming with us here in Dresden?

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Sensor-based Knowledge Networks - Mobile Camp Dresden 2011

Dresden not only attracts tourists that sprawl into the city center (or downdown as we say in the North American plains) - it is also an attractor to mobile computing developers, web designers, and researchers in the field.

Last weekend Dresden was for the third time hosting Mobile Camp (currently only in German, but at the closing ceremony the crowd pretty much favored the extension of the event into the international sphere (!)), where questions, new developments around mobile computing were the driving forces. All Friday already the venue of the Faculty of Computer Science of the Technical University of Dresden was flooded by hordes of IT folks, students, and lots of cool projects (cyber-physical systems, 3D visualizations of large-scale ionic accelerators, and the IT crowd of the region - named Silicon Saxony).

Faculty of Computer Science TU DD Copyright: Frank Hamm
So it became a "three-day event" covering from state of the art research via business development to barcamp-like venturing into the future. We soon realized that mobile devices play already a vital role in our daily life - which way is it to become in the near future?

For session (no. 4) I had invited David Orban, Advisor of Singularity University, just currently CEO of dotSUB, and actively researching and lobbying for the Internet of Things. He is very active in the sensor-based knowledge networks especially on the open source format #SPIME.

Anyway due to schedule and timezone shift we decided to do session in Dresden, where Dirk Spannaus was grateful to help with his knowledge from his work at IBM and in Africa around mobile computing. As a side-effect I pretty intuitively decided during the session planning early on Saturday to ask the crowd whether there would be any interest to learn more about TranscendentMan and Ray Kurzweil's work. To my surprise a couple of dozen hands rose up - so a session was fixed for late afternoon.

While flowing around the vast area of the Faculty of Computer Science, meeting new and old friends and fiercely feeding the Twitterwall (#mcdd11) I could feel the "field" that enabled all protagonists of the days to co-create something not easily to catch in words - a "sense of future emergence".

After doing two sessions, the one on sensor-based networks and a second one on #Museum20, where together with Robert Badar of Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden we discussed in which easy to take steps new technology can be embedded in arts institutions, I had trained away my nervousness quite a bit (thanks you all of you, for making me grow on this :-)).

At 5pm I entered the large room where proper video coverage was possible and to my surprise around 30 people were awaiting the unexpected (the movie is yet not open to public in Germany). While doing the final installations I asked, who of the crowd would know about Ray Kurzweil. Roughly ten hands went up. I asked for someone who wanted to explain in his/her own words what Ray's work stands for - which was thankfully taken with no hesitation (there already was a sense of community, which I was missing during the first session in the morning on the sensors, where it half-way through the session was more a frontal lecture with no dialogue emerging).

Learnings from the two sessions on Sat & Sun:

  • Good: even short clips of a few minutes induce vivid conversation, immediate feedback from audience on implications and thought side-effects, emotionally touching story (enabling much more open conversation - only what touches us is worth to be talked about)
  • Tricky: not knowing how the audience reacts (as I had to cancel a semi-public event screening the complete movie just the week earlier, due to lack of interest)
  • Learned: it doesn't need the complete movie to get the conversation going, focus of conversations shifts due to the experience and background of the people (Sat: more on implications on education, Sun: more the fear of "allowing" bots to capture our body (in a sense mobile phones already are an extension of our body ;-))
  • Action: will provide more show times in Dresden (first of the movie clips & conversation on implications) >> restarting OpenCoffeeClubDresden (a loose meeting of students, entrepreneurs, citizens on relevant questions of today)

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Information Filter Bubble

Are you sometimes feeling that the information flow around you is killing you? What filters to put in place to stay focused and get things done?
What is your strategy? What are the implications of it?

Ever thought about it? I had not that closely, but learned it today via Facebook.

Eli Pariser at his latest TED talk inspired Tom Fiddaman, a system dynamicist, to the following.

Life is really a constant flow of information and sometimes tapping your foot right into it and feel the unexpected leads to surprises that hit you positively :)

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Seeds on which ground flourish best?

About two years ago Qimonda, a memory chip producer closed its doors due to economic turmoil and about 3.000 skilled workers lost their jobs. The plant once a pillar of the Saxon micro-electronic hot spot had been sponsored by huge amounts of state funding. The hope was back then that this would spur economic drive in the region with a long history of electronics - being the heart of the GDR microelectronics activities back in the day.

Two years into selling almost all mobile stuff left in the plant, the buildings are to be sold to former mother company Infineon, a daughter of Siemens, Munich. Again a double digit government funding is said to help to spin off a new plant taking up production on new chip production line in the near future.

The question that still stands up: What has really happened in the past ten years that led to the closing in the end? Will the second try be better in the long run?

Will grass grow when put on concrete ground?

What are the changes to be undertaken to find the suitable ground to grow something really sustainably?

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Blind Spot - Walking into the Future Fog

.... some distant thoughts, I stumbled over just a few minutes ago from 2009 - old but good. Some is history, most not.

Please read through to the end (if you have the passion and patience) - what is it you can contribute in your life and work context to the points 1. - 6. ?


Reply by Ralf Lippold on September 26, 2009 at 12:41pm
Hi Otto,
hi all,

After a day of Atoms & Bits festival and a convened CoWorkingDay session together with other initiatives around Germany I would like to check in again after some four weeks. I would like to take the initial questions Otto posted earlier this year.

1. Co-creating Living Examples: everyone participates in co-creating living examples. some of them are captured on this social networking site and on the PI site. others will be added later.

A living example has been the CoWorkingDay today. Lots of smaller initiatives have done CoWorking and the intention (at least from my point of view) was, to try out working across the physical distance using Web-2.0 technology. The collaboration ended where deeper questions aroused on how CoWorking could be helpful to work sustainably in the world today.

2. Evolving and refining Theory: no theory no learning. the further evolution of Theory U and other related frameworks will remain a core activity and focus area of this awareness based action research community.

What is the theory behind the current work concepts that mainly are based on fixed employment or when freelanced working in rather small circles in physically close environments. Use of internet for collaborative learning and working is still not be used by its potential (merely at all).

3. Developing social technology: Applying, refining, and further developing the social technology of presencing (based on TheoryU, chapter 21, and the open source PI toolbook)

In a way the experiment of CoWorking around different places using a shared open container, the internet has shown that there are still some shortcomings even despite the need on lowering workload (through participating meeting in person)

4. Capacity building: develop capacity building mechanisms that prototype innovations in learning infrastructures which address all three: the open mind, open heart, and open will, both individually and collectively.

From a quick idea on the last OpenCoffeeClub Dresden (#occdd) the activity emerged into the official program of Atoms & Bits - action learning:-)

5. Co-create Social Presencing Theater in order to shift the awareness of communities from downloading and reacting to collective creativity and presencing. I think there has not been any form of theatre today.

6. Develop a set of Power Places as planetary accupuncture points that support this global movement

One of the Power Places seems to be definitely Berlin, whereas I sense rising power in Dresden. The problem here is the threat of closing plants of the microelectronics area here in Dresden. Nobody really wants to talk about that issue, even though everybody in the city already knows the joke about the difference of Qimonda and Infineon:

6 months :-( (not really funny!)

There seems to be a huge "blind spot" that disables people to see the possibilies that are right in front of them when turning from the mere production of chips to more integrated solutions and value-adding processes.

... (a large conference on microelectronics in about 10 days in Dresden) - nothing about the products or future possibilities of chips and the skills people in that area have.

7. Co-create a core group and a global community of presencing practice that co-inspires a global movement of deep civilizational renewal based on integrating science, spirituality (consciousness) and social change. This online community is a first step into that direction.

We are working on LockSchuppen in order to build a sustainable entrepreneur and startup hub in Dresden where different fields are meeting (especially around new Web-2.0 technology solutions) and co-create added-value.

- Ralf

Friday, April 22, 2011

Open Education - it is becoming reality

Salman Khan about the learning of the future. With some concepts of Jean Pol Martin, Gunter Dueck, Michael Wesch, and LockSchuppen (where we did similar on smaller scale via ScreenR). MIT Open Course Ware certainly fits in this future journey of learning - pretty much of what I have dreamt some ten years ago here in Dresden - where science, arts and business comes together and LEARNING is the bounding brace.

Watching his video and sneaking into Khan Academy something is definitely calling me (and you as well perhaps) to make the education here in Dresden fit for the coming times! - und es sollte nicht auf eine Sprache begrenzt bleiben (sorry to undo my promise to keep this blog only in English).

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Pulling the knowledge currents into action - sparked by John Hagel

How do we engage teams in ever increasing platforms that the new web age brings up?

Examples from my own work experience:
  • creating a knowledge team around bringing a new tracking software (of containers) across several European countries on just a virtual collaboration
  • being a major facilitator for making the new BMW Plant Leipzig a reality, again especially in dealing and mentoring team members spread across the BMW network
  • envisioning the concept of a virtual lean consulting community, which eventually resulted in creating the concept of LockSchuppen - Unlocking Creative Minds
  • ...
What are the sparking moments of your life time where similar happened?

21st Century Opera - Time of Enlightenment 2.0

Reflecting on 'L'incoronazione di Poppea' a baroque opera dated back to 1643 which inner truth is so much  of our today's world. Not much has changed: inner circles rule the country and business world, masses of people (workers) make the whole running smoothly, interpersonal and group dynamics show up in crisis especially.

What makes me wonder? How about creating modern opera of todays composers taking the actual reality into account, adapting it to a vivid opera context that then provides the "cultural island" from which the visitors from interdisciplinary fields (politics, science, arts, and business) can get into dialog on changing the world they live into to the better together.

Who is the one who takes the first step to create such?

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Behavioral Economics - when clusters do work

Today I learned - once again- from a local cluster manager that any event inviting experts (which of course cost a few Euros) is not feasible nor doable. The local hightech companies would not be in the position to do so. Especially as the Eastern German part of the country still is the "extended work bench" of Western Germany, or other global corporations.

What I have seen for the last 18 years (1993 I was working as an assistant in the archeological institute in Dresden for 8 weeks, pretty much entrenched into the Eastern German culture and history) there is potential in the locals and local companies to raise well on top of the corporate world. However something is in play in the economic "system" that hinders the uprise.

May it be the state funding that is constantly being infused into the country? May it be "closed circles" of "men in grey flanell suits"? May it be a lack of money on the banks and VCs that almost are non-existent (compared with the Silicon Valley situation)?

Who knows. What I know is that there is something happening underneath the surface, nobody wants openly to talk about.

What is the unquestionable that hinders entrepreneurs, startups, and free-thinking people to get to their real potential in life and work?

A short glance in Edgar Schein's book about culture opens new worlds of understanding.

What do you think is reasoning the behavior?

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Love & Culture = Economic Growth!

If you ever wondered where the subsidies for large cultural institutions run into, read this New York Times article. It covers the economic impact opera houses, as the Semperoper for example, or the Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden and their work have on not so familiar areas, such as economic development.

Sometimes one has to go far to see close - like I had to visit a conference in Oman to meet some relevant folks in the social business, like Frauke Godat, co-founders of the SelfHUB (closed in 2010) in Berlin.

There are always "hidden bends" in the course of life that create value for the whole the very moment you don't concentrate (with your eyes or measuring instruments) on the ROI or concrete results!

"If an organization wishes to benefit from its own creative potential, it must be prepared to value the vagaries of the unmeasurable as well as the certainties of the measurable." (quoted from 'Orbiting the Giant Hairball' by Gordon McKenzie)

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Lightspeed thoughts on entrepreurship

Picture: Deutsche Werkstätten Hellerau
Vivek Wadhwa at Stanford (120 min (!)) - video
Who is the first politician to comment?
Wer ist der erste sächsische Politiker, der kommentiert?

Time for a shift in the world and SAXONY, as well.

Picture on left is the Silicon Valley of its day on the outskirts of Dresden:


Friday, April 1, 2011

When Flow of Thought is Cut - IMMEDIATELY! What to do?

Inspired by a recent post by Kurzweil AI I think by myself, "How true is that!" - Islandic volcano, snow everywhere in winter 2010/2011, earthquake and tsunami in Japan, flooding in Thailand, what's next?

  • Have we as a species already adapted to the changing environment? 
  • Do we still need to travel back and forth and why is that so?

>>> the following was written on Pegasus on 25th of December 2010:

Merry Xmas to all!

What seemed unnatural in spring now comes back in form of never ending snowing here in Saxony and Dresden.

At the moment it is Christmas time, on Monday work starts again.

The current events make us again aware that nature has a much tighter grip on our daily action than we might have thought in the past.

In which ways do we react?

Do we try to do the things we did in the past? Freeing streets running the goods and people as good as possible?

Or do we cocreate new solutions to the given situation outside and take the benefits it gives us in our hands?

Quite a few people will have the probably the chance to try new forms of work such as

All a healthy time and moments to rethink!
Posted @ Saturday, December 25, 2010 4:08 AM by RalfLippold

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Conversations that Matter

Shortly before taking a huge step in my professional life (back) I found a rather old post on PI Community dated from April 2009. Every visit to any performance of the Semperoper reminds me of that. I have the feeling that places like operas very closely get to what we are seeking.

Dear all,

Not quite sure whether that is just my personal feeling or sensing, and I would like to share some thoughts that are useful for the future of relevant conversations.

As we all know personal contacts are the most effective ways, we tend to overuse them sometimes. Meeting with people physically restrict us to get only a small part of the picture of the future that is lying ahead of us.

Online conversations can't fully take away that personal conversations and yet they provide a terrific and low-cost opportunity to learn about our own "blind spots" (we don't have to look at others "blind spots", such as organizations, managers, if we haven't worked on ours;-)).

So, what is the difference?

Besides not getting the personal touch & feel with the other one, perhaps sitting right on an island in the Pacific or in Australia, or even somewhere in the same city where you are located, we are not used to take that kind of conversations as serious as personal ones. The webage has just arrived for the last couple of years (and not evenly spread across communities, societies or countries). Old economy thinking is still pretty focused on meetings, one-on-one talks, ..

The other shortcoming (or should I say benefit) is that in an online community you can step out of the conversation quite anonymously, looking from outside and -perhaps- step in again.

To be honest, I feel pretty comfortable in that new world, as it opens doors and windows that we couldn't even think of a few years ago. I certainly wouldn't have had contact with John Sterman of MIT Sloan, if the phone calls to the US wouldn't have been as cheap as now. No connection with SoL and going to the 3rd Global SoL Forum in Oman (everything worked over the net before the physical meeting). Talking with persons in a café (as we do recently on the LockSchuppen) takes into account the learnings from the online communities, inspirations and contacts and vice-versa gives feedback again.

So, my question to all is:

How do you feel doing a conversation over the group, use the chat or other ways of communication (other than plain language in physical meetings)?

How should the environment be in order to bring you value in what you want to achieve in life?

Best regards and always curious in making things easier and more joyful (work can be so joyful, it even wouldn't be called work anymore;-))


taken from a conversation at
Getting deeper into level 3/4 in online conversations?
Posted by Ralf Lippold on April 11, 2009 at 8:31am in General

Saturday, March 19, 2011

expand your minds

Business & Ballet - what the heck is the connection? Listening to Jacopo Godani explaining the intention of Spazio Tempo we see many connections of what is on stage (ballet) to what is on stage (work). Not much difference: open up the opportunities so that people can play out their mind strengths.

Inspiration for today's blog post was yesterday's visit to "3 Colors White" where "Spazio Tempo" was embedded in the program. Two more performances to come in March - don't miss. You'll be not only impressed, additionally there will insights for your own work (not necessarily in the performing arts (!)).

Thursday, March 10, 2011

How to Do Cool Things to Change the World

Alex Lightman, organizer of Humanity+ at Harvard in June 2010 (which was actually livestreamed at CoOrpheum in Dresden), with some awesome ideas of changing your entrepreneurial attitude and action.

Thanks Alex! Inspiring to the bone!

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Change takes Time - sometimes pretty long ;-)

Back in 2008, I had just left BMW to venture out as a team entrepreneur around the concept of CoWorking, the financial meltdown hit the world. Thinking that this would be the right time to stir up change across business, education, and institutions. Two years in time, things seem to be back to "normal" and yet everywhere around the globe sparks of change light up.

When do we see and experience the change in our community? 
What are the things that could be better than is right now? 
Reply by Ralf Lippold on December 26, 2008 at 6:18am
Hi ...,
Thanks a lot for sharing your case study and thoughts around it.
It makes me curious to get deeper into the field as I sense that in the current situation in business and society most people are either stuck or have to leave their community (such as an organization).
Looking forward to getting more understanding in how to start such initiatives.
Best regards

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Wind of Change

A few minutes back on my other blog OrganizationalThinking
something caught my eye. Just a link. It was Otto Schamer's blog.

Even though I am not in Egypt or the area where the change of
history is happening right, I am confident that words and connecting
people, resonate, and reshape thinking through conversation will
also make a difference from the city of Dresden.

1989 in Dresden (back then East Germany) and elsewhere the pictures
were quite similar to the ones today we see on YouTube, CableTv, and
Twitter and Facebook.

Let's support each other with what we know from our past history. We
can all learn together collectively across boundaries (that are only existent
in our minds).


Sunday, February 13, 2011

The Tipping Point of Collaboration

It was summer 2009 when Google announced Google Wave as the "next big thing". Should it be useful for the (potential) users?

I remember vividly meeting with Alina Hsu in Harvard in 2009. We talked about Lean Thinking, System Dynamics. The major finding was, "An aggregator for all this interdisciplinary information is deeply needed. Is there one way or the other?" A few months later I got an invite to GoogleWave by Siggi Becker. The experiment could start.

We have used the tool for several sub-projects around LockSchuppen - quite successfully.

Then early 2010 the big earthquake in Haiti hit the news. Quickly the desaster made it clear that GoogleWave was helpful in order to work as an integrator of information flows. Nevertheless the service and active contribution by Google to its newest collaboration tool was lately cut down.

Egypt and its people raised the "Power of Pull" (thanks John Hagel & John Seely Brown) to reinitiate the platform to collectively create our future. (Note: one has to have a GoogleWave account to step in, searching for "Egypt" a seed will be found).

There are probably already hundreds of blog, website, aggregators of news/ info / support on the web. Let bring them together in a joint effort. This small seed could be helpful - just a beginning for a lovely flowbed of collective knowledge ;-)